We recieved anemail asking what happens if the rent check doesn't arrrive on time but the tenant swears they mailed it. Since we are not lawyers, we turned to landlord/tenant legal expert Andy Hull for an opinion. He is always full of good advice.
One area that comes up consistently each month is tenants who pay their rent by money orders or certified funds from a bank. The tenants generally will say they have mailed these in to the landlord and come to court with their stubs to show the Judge that they paid the rent. The question then becomes: Did the landlord actually receive the money and misplace it? Did the money orders get lost in the mail? Or did the tenants not even send the money to begin with?
Most of the Judges have ruled that it is the tenants’ responsibility to show that they have paid their rent. However, some Judges will ask the tenants why they haven’t put a tracer on the money orders or suggest that the landlord try and work with the tenants. My suggestion is to add a lease addendum to your lease that covers this area. A suggested lease addendum would be the following:
Tenant understands that it is the tenant’s responsibility to deliver the rent to the landlord. Tenant must deliver the rent in person and/or by certified or registered mail. Tenant understands that it is also their responsibility to get a rent receipt from the landlord and to confirm with the landlord that the landlord did, in fact, receive their rent. The tenant understands that it is their responsibly to put a tracer upon any rent that is allegedly lost or misplaced. Tenant agrees that they will replace any lost rent immediately even if they are having it traced through the institution from which they purchased it. It is the tenant’s responsibility to further provide the landlord with proof that they are tracing the lost money orders or certified funds in a timely manner. Tenant remains liable to keep the rent current until such time as they have discovered what happened to their money orders or certified funds. Landlord agrees to give the tenant credit towards the rent only upon proof presented by the tenant that the landlord or its agent actually received and cashed the tenant’s rent payment.
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Best to you,
Gene Urban & Ron Urban
The Urban Team at Realty Executives